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Sun 30th Apr 2006

Well Dressing in Malvern

Well dressing is an interesting English tradition in which wells are decorated, usually with flowers or flower petals. It's believed to have pagan roots, though I would guess that the 1930's interest in such things has influenced its prevalance today. Whatever! That's just my speculations, I guess I could look it up on Wikipedia if I wanted the "straight dope".

What isn't speculatation is that Malvern has a festival of Well Dressing (and poetry) on this weekend and Monday. Here's some pics:

  • Malvhina Well Dressed:
    Malvhina Well Dressed

  • Happy Valley Well Dressed:
    Happy Valley Well Dressed

Sat 29th Apr 2006

Klub Catusi at The Rainbow

Busy night at The Rainbow for Klub Catusi and Silver Dollar.

Fri 28th Apr 2006

Charade Performance

(Slight spoilers for the film/book Farenheit 451 )

Today was the performance for the Charade art project I've been involved in. Charade is based on the film / book Farenheit 451 in which the government bans books and people memorise them in order to save them. Charade is slightly updated in that other media such as films or songs were included. I wrote about the launch back in January.

I was slightly aprehensive about the event, but it turned out wonderfully. We had a beautiful sunny day, about 8 participants and it seemed to work very well. Victoria Square in Birmingham is in front of the Council House, with quite a lot of people passing through. We walked up and down, reciting or trying to learn our pieces, much as in the closing scenes of Farenheit 451. Sometimes we were accompanied by others listening to our recitation. I walked with some of the others to hear work which ranged from parts of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, through sections from Shakespeare and Sapho to poems from Spike Milligan's Milliganimals.

You can see photos from the event at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/35429022@N00/pool/

I have chosen to memorise a 1937 radio broadcast of The Illumination of the Fleet by Lt Cmdr Tommy Woodrooffe. I've read that the good Lt Cmdr was hosted by his old ship, and given a good dinner before the broadcast. Whatever happened, he was pretty drunk, inarticulate, repetative and slur-ry. He also swears once during the broadcast. I like the idea of this broadcast going out on the ether, via glowing valve radios into the homes of hundreds of thousands of people, and imagining their reactions to it.

You can hear the broadcasts at: http://www.nr23.net/mp3s/fleets_lit_up.mp3 or http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/audio/royal_naval_review.ram

Barry Taylor on Roger Beckwith's website Old Radio Broadcasting Equipment and Memories has the best description of the incident I could find:

The second incident occurred on 20 May 1937 and was known as 'The Woodrooffe Incident'. As part of the Coronation celebrations there was a Review of the Fleet. The commentator was an ex-naval officer, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Woodrooffe, and the commentary was to come from his old ship. He had been rather generously entertained in the wardroom prior to the broadcast and during a pre-transmission test it was noticed that he sounded somewhat 'tired and emotional' and there was concern expressed to Harman Grisewood who was on duty in the Presentation Section that all might not go well with the broadcast. The Presentation office was some distance from the Control Room and before Grisewood could do anything Woodrooffe was on the air with the now legendary remark 'The Fleet's lit up'. Senior engineers, on their own responsibility, faded out the programme.

It became obvious that a duty announcer was needed in close proximity to the control engineer so that immediate decisions could be made that would prevent such incidents happening in the future. It used to be said that to be in possession of a recording of the 'The Fleet's lit up' would lead to summary dismissal. True or not, everyone can hear it these days thanks to a BBC Radio Collection CD '75 years of the BBC' (ZBBC2038CD). Incidentally, the inlay card has incorrectly credited Woodrooffe as a Wing Cmdr.

Cafe Soya

Ate at the good caf' again! The food is definitely up to the same standard as the original place.

Tue 25th Apr 2006

Nice Music Videos

I had a look at the Jeff Lewis' Website and found a link to a cool video for the song "Posters" in which Jeff and his brother Jack go out flypostering in New York.

It was on the http://www.fortmarkfilms.com/ website, which co-incidentally (??) had Misty's videos for Hey Man and The Story of Love featured on the front page.

Richard Herring and Nick Doody Live

Recorded live and broadcast on Radio 4 that is. The show is Political Animal ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/politicalanimal.shtml ) and both Richard and Nick did some material about the September 11th and July 7th terrorist attacks. If you're quick, you can catch the show on the BBC's "Listen Again" service (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio4_aod.shtml?radio4/political_animal ). Shows are normally up for a week. If you think "comedy" about terrorism is offensive, give them a listen before you make up your mind.

Sun 23rd Apr 2006

Bluejacking Experiments

Recently I've been experimenting with sending images to random phones via Bluetooth - this is known as "Bluejacking", similar to hijacking, but isn't actually pejorative. I've been playing on the 50 bus, at gigs, railway stations / trains and in the city centre, and found that there's loads of bluetooth enabled phones around all the time. Typically, in one of these locations you will find 5 or so phones over half of which have had their standard name replaced with a personalised one, indicating that the user is aware of their bluetooth capability.

So far, I've sent a few copies of a picture of an orangutan to random people on the 50 bus / gigs

  • Send via bluetooth - Orang:
    Send via bluetooth - Orang

A couple of copies of this graffiti on a advertising sign to people on the 50 bus / in the bullring:

  • Sent Via Blootooth - Advert on New St:
    Sent Via Blootooth - Advert on New St

and some copies of blurry photos from the Jeff Lewis gig to people there.

I've also received the following two images today, one about a "Mr Ronaldo" as I walked past a sports shop and one (below) on the no. 50 bus.

  • Received by Bluetooth:
    Received by Bluetooth

Wed 19th Apr 2006

A walk to Moseley

I took these pictures back in August 2005, and wanted to link them together as a "walk through". Now, using flickr I've done it. Each photo has one or more rectangles on it where you can click to move to a new position. Simple, but kind of effective I think.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andypryke/131297720/

Mon 17th Apr 2006

Jeff Lewis Band at The Academy

Saw Jack and Jeff Lewis supporting Adam Green at The Academy. I missed the begining of the set - but I did see two cartoon stories, both of which I'd seen before: A story about a boy and his bird, and another about the history of the Russian revolution (see dodgy low-res cameraphone photos below smile )

History of the Russian Revolution - Jeff Lewis
Trotsky and Lenin 1900 - Jeff Lewis Peace and Land - Jeff Lewis
Marx? and Lenin 1900 Peace and Land
Russian Revolution October 1917 - Jeff Lewis Lenin 1922 - Jeff Lewis Next: China - Jeff Lewis
Russian Revolution Lenin 1922 Next: China

Fri 14th Apr 2006

New Cafe Soya

I ate at the new, enlarged, Cafe Soya today, and found it good. The new premises are on the road between the back of the rag/fruit/fish/meat markets and the wholesale markets. It's a lot bigger. The old place could squeeze in 30 people max. The new looks like it could seat 150 to 200, and is well arranged in three sections so that it's not going to feel like you're eating in the middle of a warehouse when it's not so busy!

As far as I could tell, the menu is exactly the same, infact, it's slightly fuzziness made me wonder if they had colour photocopied the old one. Either was, I didn't notice any dramatic difference in price.

As it was in new premises, I thought I'd go for dishes I know very well - prawn steam pancake rolls and deep fried fish and tofu in sweet chilli sauce. My companion, as they say in reviews, shared the starter and went for a meat based curry hotpot dish.

  • Jasmin Tea:
    Jasmin Tea

The starter came amazingly quickly, and was very tasty, though the filling seemed very slightly different from what I remember. My guess is that we have different chefs working to the same recipies.

I've probably eaten the fish & tofu at least 7 times in the old caf', and it has varied subtly, so I guess my question is... would I have noticed the variation if I'd had it at the old C.S.? And the answer... I think I would. The tofu was definately less cooked - quite soft in the middle, the fish too could have done with a little more frying to get it crispier. There also seemed to be less holy basil. This isn't to say it was at all a bad dish - it was very tasty and still one of my favorites.

  • Deep Fried Fish and Tofu smile
    Deep Fried Fish and Tofu :-)

By reports, the curry hotpot was just like in the old cafe soya - very good!

  • Hotpot Curry:
    Hotpot Curry

At the end of the meal, our waitress asked if she could take a polaroid of us, which I guess will go on display like in the old place.

In conclusion, I'd recommend the new Cafe Soya to anyone looking for good food in Brum. It's quick, well priced and very tasty! Good luck to them in their new premises.

Bach St Mathew's Passion - Symphony Hall

Let's admit it, a four hour performance is a bit daunting, but the promise of hearing one of the jewels of classical music performed live at the Symphony Hall drew me in.

You're probably familiar with the plot: political activist arrested, sentenced to death, crucified, and then the suprise ending - he comes back to life!

The piece consists of a mixture of solos providing the narration, and full on choral / orchestral sections providing the entertainment smile OK, that's a bit harsh, but I must say I definately enjoyed the large choir / full orchestra bits best - some of these were stunning!

The interval seemed to come very soon, and we decided to check with an usher what time the interval ended, and decamp to The Rep to avoid the queues. The queues in the rep were shorter, but the bar service there is very slow, so whether we made a sensible decision I wasn't sure. Until, that is, we returned to the symphony hall to find the public areas empty. The interval had ended, and we weren't there to hear the announcements. We rushed to our door (unfortunately right at the very top) and just managed to get in as the performers arrived and clapping started. Checking my watch, we were still several minutes ahead of the time we'd been given. If we hadn't made it in, I'd have been pretty P'd off! Maybe a general announcement of when the interval will end would be good, as would making sure that the ushers know in advance!

Thu 13th Apr 2006

Comedy Kav

The ComedyKav is back... and under old management. James Cook is back at the helm and tonight was the first night of the new old ComedyKav.

The venue was standing room only which is a good sign for a "first night". Luckily I managed to get a seat right at the front, through didn't get picked on by any of the comedians. This honour went to a nearby lawyer who go most of the audience interaction sections.

James Cook compared, with lots of new material and five of his traditional jokes thrown in as well. We had a "guess which actor is a porn star" game for the prize of an easter egg - very seasonal.

Pat Gallagher was the first act on. I've seen him before somewhere, maybe here, maybe at Edinburgh. Pat is genial, with some great one liners, strong delivery and very engaging. Oh yes... he was very funny too.

Next up we had two less experienced comedians, Lou Chowner and Anthony Miller (I think). They were quite a contrast - one with a nervous persona (though I'm not sure how much was act and how much real) and quite a lot of good jokes, and the other very confident but needing to concentrate his material - it was engaging, but we didn't seem to get to enough punchlines. Still, no complaints, part of going to see live local comedy is that you get to see acts at all stages of development, which gives you a richer view of how comedy works.

Finally, headlining, was Nick Doody. Nick went down exceedingly well, was totally in control and had some great intelligent material touching on subjects as varied as the London bombings and some other stuff which I can't remember at the moment. Well worth seeing. He's got an occasional blog at: http://nickdoody.blogspot.com/

The Comedy Kav website is at: http://www.comedykav.com/ and the next gig is on the 27th.

Tue 4th Apr 2006

Freezepop tour the UK!

Freezepop have 3 tour dates listed in the UK - April 27th (Leeds), April 28th (Nottingham), April 29th (London). Now, if only some enterprising local promoter could get them to visit Birmingham...

http://www.myspace.com/freezepop

We are the Robots

I'd just been listening to Kraftwerk's classic track We are the Robots (the blessings of random play), and I chanced across this fun video of a robot dancing - though it's not the kind of "robotic dance" you might expect. It's by CloudCuckooLand who's CuCkLe's sound very interesting.

Sun 2nd Apr 2006

Cinderbury Iron Age Village

A while back, in my list of things I would like to do, I said I'd like to stay at Cinderbury, a recreated Iron Age village ( http://www.cinderbury.co.uk/ ). Apparently it's under new ownership, with and the prices have gone down rather than up! It's probably the closest you'll get to time travel...

MySpace

I signed up with MySpace a while back - mainly to ensure I got my name (there's a suprising number of Andy Pryke's about)! So I've got a page at http://www.myspace.com/andypryke , so if you see me, "friend me" smile

MySpace seems to be really growing, so many people I know have pages there. Not sure how much time I've got to maintain a MySpace presence at the moment, as well as writing here, reading email and doing things in the "real world", but lets see how it goes.

The only thing I'd really like to do with my MySpace page right now is add multiple songs: There's ones from http://profile.myspace.com/RichBatsford , http://www.myspace.com/mistysbigadventure , http://www.myspace.com/kategoes and http://www.myspace.com/theretrospankees which I'd like to add.

Sat 1st Apr 2006

Condoleeza Rice visit

Indymedia have some nice photos of Condoleeza Rice's visit to Liverpool.

1983 - 80,000 people protest against nuclear weapons.

On a protest theme, the BBC has a very nice bit of footage covering the protests from a different age

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/1/newsid_2520000/2520753.stm

Tom Baker Misty's Fandom

Apparently Tom Baker (that's the Dr Who Tom Baker, not some random Tom Baker) is a big Misty's fan. He contacted me by email, so I spoke to him on the phone - he's never seen them live but he's got the CDs. I got him to record one of those thingies like when you get famous people endorsing a DJ on the radio. Here it is: Tom Baker / Misty's recording - it's in AMR format, which should play if you've got quicktime installed (e.g. if you've downloaded iTunes).

You can now hear the file as an MP3: tombaker.mp3

KateGoes

Ha ha ha! I saw Kate Goes for the 1st, or is it 2nd time. Really it's the 2nd time, but then they weren't called KateGoes then, in fact they didn't have a name at all.

The theme for this gig was "Kate Goes... to bed" The offer of free t-shirts to those wearing a full set of pyjama's (!) mean we had 8 or so nightwear clad fans (in addition to many of the band).

Very nice gig, the harmonies on Heartbeat were wonderful (hear it at their myspace - Kate Goes , though for some reason I can't download it). There was nice between song banter from Kate, including a couple of post-intro's where she intro'd the song after it had been played smile

We also had a guess the "other animal which an animal wants to be" from the animal noises section. One of the songs involved 2 band members going to sleep on stage, one complete with a sleeping bag. Kate also got a bit carried away in the don't thow your friends away song about how if you have friends and your're having a gig then they all come along and if you ask them they'll jump up and down and they'll wear pyjamas too if you ask them and... before being interupted by a tap on the shoulder from Beth.

Before the last song, all the "pyjamaramas" were gathered up onto the stage and interviewed by Kate as if they were about 3 years old - they all played along wonderfully! How cool to have a cult following for what is only your 2nd gig! They then all joined in with Lipstick on your Collar (in the "nya nya nya nya"s).

Support was from The Devil and Casey Jones who have a quite different sound - 3 guitars, drums and vocals. They have a good stage presence, with a kind of on-stage slam dancing relationship between the lead singer (in red t-shirt) and the yellow t-shirted guitarist. Add in the 3rd, green t-shirted guitarist and, as the lead remarked, you've got traffic lights. The lyrics were certainly there, though I couldn't make them out well enough, but I get the feeling they have some real content. Also the stage antics, including getting a chair from the audience, sitting down in front of the stage on it, breaking it (ooops!), mending it and generally messing about, added a lot of interest.

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